“Pop Psychology”

Jake Tapley

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In 2010, the band Neon Trees made their debut with the song “Animal,” which had considerable mainstream success.

Since then, they have been able to maintain a steady following and release two albums, the newest of which is “Pop Psychology.”

While still maintaining much of the soulful vocal styling and power-pop approach to music, the album delves further into the new wave and alt-pop genres, demonstrating a strong ’80s influence. This influence becomes even more evident with the aesthetics surrounding the album.

The cover art is retro. The bright colors and spunky clothes beckon comparison to past cover art – maybe an album by David Bowie – while possessing a distinctively modern quality.

The four promotional music videos released for the album keep this aestheticism. Each video, however, is designed to fit the corresponding song accordingly, as the album still manages to be sonically diverse.

The albums strongest points are definitely in songs like lead single, “Sleeping with a Friend,” and second single, “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends),” both of which are infectiously catchy pop tunes. The former takes an R&B approach to alt-pop music, while the latter playfully merges new wave with a power-pop chorus reminiscent of Head Automatica.

The slow, emotional ballad, “Voices in the Hall,” comes as a nice change in pace toward the middle of the album with its atmosphere creating the same bittersweet feeling you get when listening to Alphaville’s “Forever Young.”

The album’s weakest points are in songs like closing track, “First Thing’s First.” Though the verses are introspective and soulful, the chorus is extremely cookie-cutter and doesn’t come close to doing the song justice.

At its best, “Pop Psychology” might be Neon Trees at their best.

At its worst, I just don’t care.

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